While I don’t necessarily have expensive tastes, I do enjoy nice things. However, most importantly I look for quality versus cost. Sometimes it is worth it to buy the most expensive item only due to the result is far superior. But let me say this, I am ALL ABOUT SAVING MONEY. I’m frugal. I rarely buy stuff without a coupon. I do my math to see if it’s actually worth it to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper in bulk versus the 4-pack. I can’t help it; I’m an engineer and a very analytical thinker. Plus I grew up really, REALLY poor.
Truthfully while I, at times, longed for those Jordache jeans all the other girls got looking back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing. See by not having money I learned to appreciate the little things in life – learning to sew and make “new” things about old clothing, learning to can my own sauces and jellies, or learning to cook from scratch.
I can even remember in college while yes, I succumbed to the infamous Ramen Noodles and Tuna fish diet, I also cooked while in the dorms. I had a toaster oven and if I wanted a cookie, I’d bake it. I had a little Rubbermaid container full of bare essentials – flour, sugar, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, chocolate chips, baking soda, and powder. With these basic ingredients, I could make a fair bit.
Now as I got older and my mother had passed on I so longed for her pies. I would always shy away from making them due to the hype of them being so difficult. It wasn’t until recently that I recalled one of the tricks my mother showed me when it came to baking a blind pie crust.
What’s a blind pie crust? How come it can’t see??? HAHA, I know… big dork! No. See blind baking is another term for prebaking, and it refers to a pie or tart crust that you partially or completely bake before it is filled. This is done in many cases to help keep the crust from becoming soggy from a wet fruit filling, or so that you have a cooked crust if you are filling the pie with something already cooked, such as a custard. Think like cream pies or silk pies. How you don’t cook the filling. Well, you need a pre-baked pie crust.
Well, one of the biggest dilemmas people have when they blind bake a pie crust is keeping it from poofing up and getting all deformed. Without the weight of a filling, a baking crust can shrink, fill with air pockets, and puff up with a bubble. Sure you can poke holes in it and bake it that way but I was never a fan of it. By pricking holes in it you weaken the crust thus allowing for filling or any type of moisture to seep out. So your other option is to weigh it down. You can use either foil or parchment paper then fill it with ceramic pie weights, dried beans, or so forth. Now what I don’t like about the dried beans is that you’re wasting food. You use them once and then should really throw them away. Ceramic pie weights/chains are nice but… they exactly aren’t cheap.
What my Mom always used to do was put the pie crust in the pan, line it with foil and then fill it with pennies. No, not all the way up, just enough to cover the bottom. This, to me, makes perfect sense to use pennies are pennies are copper and copper is an excellent conductor of heat! Plus they are reusable.
Makes “cents” huh? 🙂
One final note, you may want to moisture-proof your crust when blind baking by removing the crust from the oven when it has about 5 minutes left to bake, lifting out the foil/weights (watch it’ll be hot!), and applying your egg wash with a pastry brush on the bottom of the crust and about an inch up the sides. Then resume baking the crust for the remaining 5 minutes.